October 15th is Global Hand Washing Day!In many parts of the world where AAR Japan has been actively involved, a lot of people, many of whom are children, have lost their lives to infectious diseases that could have been prevented if they had lived in Japan. This is due to a lack of safe drinking water and adequate knowledge of hygiene.
Since the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010, there has been a large-scale outbreak of cholera, which is transmitted by unclean water. The outbreak has left the country with the highest rate of cholera-infected persons in the world. In other regions too, people have no choice but to use unclean water, for example, in the north-western part of Pakistan, where a large number of people have taken refuge from the civil war; and also in the north-eastern part of Kenya, where many people have settled because of the repeated droughts that have made their nomadic life impossible.
Besides providing these countries with wells, toilets and washrooms / washing facilities, AAR has been teaching Haitians the proper way to wash hands and the importance of using a toilet, so that hygienic habits will become part of their everyday lives.
|“Where should we pee or poo?” AAR staff in Haiti asks the children in Sacre Coeur primary school, showing pictures of the toilet and hand washing facilities. (March 25th, 2014)|
Let’s Do it at Home, too
|A teacher who attended the AAR seminar is educating his students about hygiene (May 29th, 2014)|
Sound Body and Sound Mind in a Clean EnvironmentAlexandra, who attended our hygiene seminar, is now the hygiene leader in her school, encouraging her classmates to clean their classrooms and sharing what she learned in the seminar with them. She says that, even at home, she tells her family members about the importance of hygiene and hygienic practices – for instance, washing hands after excretion and before meals, sterilization of drinking water by boiling, sterilization by using a water purifying substance, house cleaning, and the best ways to store and preserve food. By keeping the toilet clean, “it smells good and it makes me feel clean,” she says.
|Students are washing their hands in a hand-washing station right next to the toilet. (May 29th, 2014)|
First Things First – Preventing Infectious Diseases at HomeSince February 2014, AAR has given the opportunity for parents to attend a hygiene seminar, so that they can keep up with the good hygiene habits. Gilbert (38) is a good example. It used to be the case that he never washed his hands before meals, let alone told his children to do so. However, now he never fails to wash his hands whenever he comes home, since he learned in the AAR seminar how important it is to wash hands, in order to reduce the risk of catching infectious diseases. Through actually practicing how to wash hands properly and learning how to effectively teach his children, he has learned how to spread the message of the importance of good hygiene.
|Gilbert and his children. “We now wash our hands together.” (August 19th, 2014)|
|Regale (on the right) and her children. “Ever since I learned how to lead a hygienic life, we have been enjoying a healthy life.” (August 19th, 2014)|
We would like to express our gratitude for your donations and the Grant Assistance for Japanese NGO Projects (subsidized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) for enabling the implementation of the activities mentioned in this article.
English editing by Mr Richard Whale
The article on this page has been translated by volunteers as part of the AAR Volunteer Programme. Their generous contributions allow us to spread our activities and ideas globally, through an ever-growing selection of our reports from the field.